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Estate Planning

Our Team is passionate about helping North Carolina and South Carolina residents to effectively plan their estates by thoughtfully considering both the people and the assets involved. Whether you have an older estate plan that needs to be reviewed and updated or this is your first introduction to estate planning, the depth of knowledge and experience our attorneys possess will help to guide you through the human and financial dynamics that must be considered.

We are skilled at evaluating estates of many different sizes – from basic to ultra-high net worth – and presenting the techniques suitable to each client's needs.  What works for one family rarely, if ever, works the same or as well for another family.  Some of our clients have minimal assets or seek a simple, streamlined plan. Many, however, have substantial wealth that demands sophisticated strategies designed to minimize taxes and protect assets.   We are equally vested in the success of the strategies we implement for both types of clients and all those in between. 

 ESSENTIAL SERVICES

  • Wills 
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Financial Powers of Attorney 
  • Health Care Powers of Attorney 
  • Advance Directives and Living Wills 
  • HIPAA Authorizations 
  • Custom Asset and Disposition Diagrams
  • Custom Asset Recommendations (e.g., title and beneficiary updates)
  • Custom Survivor Reference Materials
  • Advisor Coordination (financial advisors, life insurance agents, accountants, etc.)

ADVANCED SERVICES

Our Advanced Services include all of the services listed under Essential Services, but may also include the following:

  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Asset Protection Techniques 
  • Generational Wealth Planning
  • Income, Estate, and Gift Tax Planning   

OUR PROCESS

We believe that estate planning is best understood in the context of a well-developed and clearly communicated process. From the first meeting, our client-centered approach ensures that individual objectives are fully understood.  Estate plan documents are then customized to reflect unique wishes, family circumstances, asset makeup, and tax considerations.  We also pride ourselves on working closely with our clients' other professional advisors, like accountants and financial advisors, to ensure seamless and integrated coordination.  At a boutique firm like Erin Patterson Law, PLLC, we have the benefit of being narrowly focused and flexible, often completing the entire estate planning process in half the time it would take a larger law firm. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What if I don't have an “estate”?  Who needs an estate plan?   

If you own any assets, then you have an “estate”. For that reason, any adult over the age of 18 should have an estate plan.  You should, at minimum, have a Will to outline the distribution of your assets according to your own wishes, rather than relying simply on the disposition required under state law.  You should also appoint trusted individuals to serve as your agent for financial and health care scenarios in the event you cannot act.   

Who should I name to serve as my Executor, my Trustee, and/or guardian for my minor children? 

We understand these can be difficult decisions when you first start analyzing the pros and cons of the individuals you know and trust.  It often makes sense to think of these roles as jobs that should be filled by the candidates most qualified and willing to accept the responsibilities.  Our attorneys can guide you through the various aspects to consider before you reach your final decisions.  Keep in mind that most estate planning documents, including these role assignments, can be changed at any time. 

How often should I review and update my estate plan? 

Estate planning is a lifelong process, not a one-time event.  We recommend that you review your current estate plan at least every 2-3 years with an attorney. 

How much can I expect to invest in my estate plan? 

We are committed to clarity and transparency in our pricing structures. Most of the essential estate planning services we provide are “flat-fee”, meaning that after our initial conversation, we communicate upfront the exact amount our clients can expect to invest in the process.  Depending on the strategy implemented, the advanced estate planning services we provide may be a combination of some “flat-fee” projects as well as others calculated based on our hourly rates. We strive to keep our fees competitive and affordable, always reflecting the value our team offers and you receive.

Let us help you and your family feel more confident in the future by planning your estate now.  We have the tools and resources to make the estate planning process one you understand and appreciateContact us today to begin planning your legacy. 

How Can We Help?

We are standing by and ready to assist you with your estate or business legal needs. Let us know how we can instill confidence and help bring you peace of mind. Your family and your business depend on it.

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